9 Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List

From a motherhood memoir to a suspenseful thriller, there’s plenty to enjoy this season

Whether you’re lounging near the lake or relaxing before bed, there’s a summer read for you. Get lost in a good book this season with one of Hour Detroit‘s recommended titles below. From books written by natives to the area to texts that exploring the city’s history and narratives that are set in local towns, each pick has a metro Detroit connection.

All Manner of Things

From best-selling author Susie Finkbeiner comes a new novel of estrangement and reconnection in America amidst the Vietnam War. The narrative follows Annie Jacobson as she forges a relationship with her long-lost father, while she waits for her brother, Mike, to return from the war. It’s a striking story of hope, grief, and faith that you won’t want to put down.  (Revell Publishing, 2019)


A debut short story collection by writer Lisa Lenzo beats with feeling, raw intelligence, and singular perspicacity. All 10 stories in the work take place in Detroit, and the characters — ranging from high school basketball players to Martin Luther King Jr. to transcendental angels — take readers through both the hardships and victories that characterize life in our beloved city. (Wayne State University Press, 2019)

The Mother of All Makeovers: A Memoir of More, Less, and Making Busy Beautiful

Detroit-based interior designer Hollie Gyarmati’s new memoir will have you laughing and crying at the same time. Once a senior designer at Marshall Field’s, Gyarmati left everything to marry the man of her dreams and is now the mother of five. In this work, she candidly reveals how she does it all. (Sheldon Books, 2019)

Cold Dark Lies

This is the latest installment in award-winning fiction writer Donald Levin’s gripping thriller series that follows Detective Martin Preuss. In this book, Preuss is tasked with uncovering the story behind the death of Carrie Morrison’s younger brother, who was left fighting for his life in a Ferndale hotel. But there are no spoilers here. You’ll have to read the book to see how the story unfolds. (Poison Toe Press, 2019)

Detroit: An Illustrated Timeline

Life-long Detroit resident Paul Vachon takes readers on an extended walk through his city, over three centuries of key historical events and influential turning points. This collection of vignettes told in readable, chronological order unveils how one important moment led to the next. Vachon hits on 100 different topics and slips in fun and surprising historical nuggets through this beautifully illustrated Detroit biography. (Reedy Press, 2019)


The New York Times bestselling author of Bird Box, author Josh Malerman returns to weave another creepy and unsettling tale. Set deep in the imagined woods of northern Michigan, 26 boys are being raised from birth in one tower, 26 girls in another. The visionaries of this world, Richard and Marilyn, are convinced that ‘genius is distracted by the opposite sex’ and are seeking to raise prodigies in science, math, sports, and the arts. The bottom drops out when a boy named “J” and a girl named “K” each learn that everything they’ve been taught to believe is a lie. (Del Ray, 2019)

A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father  

Washington Post editor and Pulitzer-prize winning biographer David Maraniss depicts the story of his father, Elliot Maraniss, a black-listed journalist who appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee in Detroit in 1952. Fired from his post at the Detroit Times on the day of his subpoena, the former WWII commander asked to submit a statement to the committee on what being American meant to him. Because Elliot pleaded the fifth amendment, the statement was refused and stored in the National Archives until it was discovered by his son 63 years later. (Simon & Schuster, 2019) 

I’m Fine Neither Are You

In this book by Ann Arbor author Camille Pagan, Penelope Ruiz-Kar is trying to do it all: grind out a career, run a household, and engage as a devoted mother and wife. But despite her best efforts, in every area, she’s coming up short.  Her seemingly successful best friend Jenny is a sharp contrast to Penelope’s messy life. But a surprising twist of tragedy reveals the truth of Jenny’s story and causes Penelope to discard her own charade of perfection. (Lake Union Publishing, 2019) 

The Desk on the Sea

It’s been four years since American poet Jonathon Johnson released his mother’s ashes across her hallowed Lake Superior. In an attempt to process the grief of her death, Johnson moves his wife and young daughter into a 17th-century cottage on the barren coast of Scotland’s North Sea. As Johnson chronicles his grief journey through this raw and moving memoir, he begins to shape a new life goal: to be a father, husband, and poet who honors and embodies his mother’s legacy. (Wayne State University Press, 2019)